At GreenbergTraurig law firm in Orlando, nearly everyone in the real estate division speaks at least one other language besides English, a new associate pointed out recently.
Shareholder Julie P. Kendig-Schrader is no exception – she speaks German as well as English - but was surprised by the associate’s information.
“When he came to work with us, he had done his research and pointed out that almost everyone in the real estate department speaks at least two languages,” she said in a phone interview.
Kendig-Schrader (the P. stands for Pauline by the way, after her paternal grandmother) began learning German six or seven years ago when she lived in Germany and Florida while her husband and their two children lived in Munich full time.
Her husband, Andrew Schrader, works in finance at Siemens; its world headquarters are in Munich. He was sent there for about 2 ½ years, Kendig-Schrader said.
“I was kind of commuting back and forth,” she said.
Everyone in the family speaks German. Schrader took an immersion course that Siemens sent him to, and the children – Aaron and Hannah – went to an international school where they were required to take German language classes.
Aaron and Hannah have gone back to Germany every summer since returning to the U.S. about four years ago, Kendig-Schrader said, for language classes.
Aaron, who graduated from Winter Park High School this year, has aged out of the program, but Hannah, who is going into the 10th grade, wants to return next summer, Kendig-Schrader said.
“We didn’t want them to lose it,” she said.
Schrader speaks German frequently, and often with one of Kendig-Schrader’s colleagues. When they meet, they only speak German, she said.
As for Kendig-Schrader, she keeps the family Apple TV set to German, and when it’s available on Netflix, she chooses to watch movies or shows in German with English subtitles.
Admittedly, she hasn’t kept up her German as well as the rest of the family. Busy with work and the children, she doesn’t actually sit down and watch movies that often.
Kendig-Schrader is an award-winning and recognized attorney at GreenbergTraurig, where she represents both the public and private sector in land use and environmental matters and administrative litigation.
Kendig-Schrader does enjoy traveling far from her native Florida and wants to do more.
So do other members of her firm.
“We all love traveling. It’s almost like a contest to see who has the most exciting travel experience,” she said. “I think Alan Sheppard is winning this year. He went to Cambodia and Laos. Or perhaps Dawn Giebler-Millner, who went to Mongolia.”
Kendig-Schrader isn’t far behind if at all – she went to India in January – a first visit for her. She was invited by a friend living in Bangalore who had been a neighbor in Germany.
“She invited about 20 women to come, and 10 of us went.”
They visited the Taj Mahal and then went south to Bangalore.
“It’s not a place a I ever would have picked on my own, but I’m so glad I went,” Kendig-Schrader said. “It was eye opening – I just had I think a very narrow perception of India. I didn’t have an appreciation for the vibrancy of the country until I actually got there. The colors, the pace, the food, the noise.“
Next up? Kendig-Schrader isn’t sure. The family took a quick vacation to Hawaii recently as Aaron’s graduation trip, and we try to get back to Germany as much as possible but no plans for now.
He said her husband does have to go back for work occasionally.
For now, though, “I am staying put for the foreseeable future. I have burned through all my vacation.”